Rituals and Superstitions in the Garden-By Angelique Duncan
With the coming of Spring the time has come to tend to the garden. There are a lot of things to consider when gardening, soil types, compost and mulch, how much sun do you have in your garden area and what to plant in your planting zone. However there are some other things to consider when planting your garden. The old folklores and practices that often in our modern world are forgotten. For instance resist the temptation to say thank you if one is given cuttings, seeds or the gift of a plant; it is said that it will kill the plant. It is also said to bring good fortune if one steals herbs. The following is only a few words of advice of good practices to take into account when planning your garden.
The first step is deciding what to plant. Most plants have ancient meanings and symbolism that are brought into the garden with their plantings. Colors can be of importance too. Some plants are luckier than others and some could bring on out right death if one is not careful.
Some plants that bring good fortune are shamrocks and clovers, mistletoe, fennel, black-eyed peas and bamboo. Parsley can be a good luck plant if planted on a Good Friday however it is considered bad luck to bring parsley into the house. Wild garlic planted in a row is said to ward off hares and rabbits. Some say because the smell is offensive to them, others say the garlic will lessen their magical powers and there for they will not go near it. The same is said to be true of warding off revenants and vampires from ones garden. To attract faeries to the garden plant thyme and rosemary and scented herbs, they enjoy the scents and the plants offer shelter to the magical folk.
Plants of ill fortune if brought into ones home as cuttings are said to be primrose, lilacs, and daffodils. Folklore has it that if one passes the drooping head of a daffodil some one will die. To safeguard against daisies one must step on the first blooms of the daisy otherwise a family member will pass that year. Rosemary, if planted by ones entrance will ward off evil spirits, as will ivy growing on a wall. Snapdragons, chamomile and Angelica planted will give protection from curses and evil spells.
When, where and how to plant holds a great deal of importance too. It is widely believed that crops that grow above ground should be planted during the phase of the moon that creates light, new moon to the full moon. Crops that grow under the ground should be planted during moon darkness, from full moon to new moon. It is also considered back luck to plant anything on the 31st of any month. Some gardeners swear that plants and flowers planted at night during a full moon yield larger more abundant flowers and fruit.
It is said that all crops that are planted on the first day of spring will survive. Crops such as potatoes and beans should be planted on Good Friday. Many other plants are said to do well for the season if planted on the Friday before Easter. Spring bulbs that are planted in fall bring affirmation that tomorrow will come again and winter will have an end. Wildflower seeds should be sowed before Halloween to ensure an early spring. To gain fruit from tomato plants, only plant them on Memorial Day. Take heed as well that flowers and grass will not grow in dirt where human blood has been shed.
The method of planting can be key for garden success. Peppers will produce fruit with greater intensity of heat if planted while one is angry. Herbs like Parsley and Basil grow better if one curses them while planting. Folklore states that parsley seeds have to travel to Hell and back up seven times before taking in the garden. If it does produce then it is proof of ones honesty.
Quite the opposite, some plants must be spoken to softly to coax them into blooming. Many religions practice the rite of prayer or blessings given to plants and the gardens as part of ones gardening ritual. Catholics, Buddhist, Celts, Druids and Wiccans all have some form of planting incantation that gives blessing to the garden. In the Jewish faith a tree is planted at the time of a child’s birth and a prayer is said to give the tree and the child strength. Some believe that singing to ones plants will stimulate blooms. Others believe in stomping and dancing wildly on freshly planted trees to ensure growth. Others practice a single deliberate stomp or press with ones shoe after panting for good luck.
What is put in your garden can also have an affect on your yield and offer protection to ones flowers. One should be aware that gardens are not just vulnerable to insects’ critters and disease, but also to the supernatural and evil. A gnome statue should be present to stand watch over your garden to fight off pest and invaders. Gazing balls are also a good deterrent to evil spirits, as it will reflect the sun into their eyes as they approach, thus keeping them away. If some one is openly jealous of ones blooms it can put a hex upon the garden. Gazing balls can deflect the evil eye from envious passersby’s. Hanging colorful glass balls known as witches or faerie balls from trees is another way to keep evil spirits under control as they can be trapped inside them. Wind chimes and bells hung from trees are effective in keeping away critters and wandering sprits. However wind chimes and faerie balls have been known to attract faeries to the garden so one should be prepared. Offer plates of sweet bread or cakes and thimbles of milk to keep the faeries content and they will aid your garden, if offerings are not left they can reek havoc on a garden they pass. Place shiny objects around the garden offered as gifts to the Fae folk and a good relationship will be maintained.
Hanging a Green Man face can help your garden grow in that the carving or statue will channel the ancient spirit of the forest and nature to watch over your plants. As well, any sort of statue or plaque that has a face placed at the entry of a garden will help protect the garden from sprits. Equally so a face placed near the entry of the house acts as a guardian and will prevent any evil from coming in with the crops and cuttings. A scarecrow can offer superior protection to your garden from birds and predators if it is treated well and given respect. Folklore states that a scarecrow should not be put out before Easter and should be removed and burned before midnight on Halloween. The scarecrow always should be offered a hat to keep him cool and brought into the shade on the first day of Summer and should stand near a water source so he may drink if he gets parched. Once clothing has been given to a scarecrow they belong to the scarecrow, it would bring bad fortune if a human wears those clothes again.
If one is diligent and mindful their garden will bloom and crops will be bountiful. Remember to respect your plants and give them the support and attention they need to be healthy. If you find that your garden is in distress and you’ve followed all the proper growing techniques, it may be something other than bugs affecting your plants. It could be spirits or jealousy or even discontent faeries. Implement a few of the above mentioned practices and you will not only add a lovely aesthetic to your garden you’ll be offering your plants much needed protection.
Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.